Cooking without a recipe

Last night we had friends over. To start, Brooks made yummy pomegranate cocktails (pom, seltzer, triple sec, lemon), then we gathered at the table for a plate of savory, colorful food. I had a lot of fun and since Bettina from Loulie's asked for the recipe, I was flattered and thought I would put it out for her before I forgot ...

Coco's Fish Dish for 6-8

Chop two white onions fine.
Saute in butter and garlic (3-8 cloves, all depends on your mood)
Add a couple of teaspoons of Turmeric, and a teaspoon or so of your favorite pepper. (I used chipotle pepper powder, but you could use another.)
Add salt.
Take two big handfuls of coconut flakes, put them in a strainer and give them a rinse. (I had only sweetened coconut flakes on hand, and since the sweetness would ruin the dish, I gave them a rinse). Drain the coconut flakes well, then add to the saute mixture. Get the heat going up again. Take the pan off the fire before anything starts "browning." If you need more butter, add it.

Pass the saute through the Cuisinart. Add Wolfgang puck's rich veggie stock and heavy cream in roughly equal proportions. Blend until the consistency is like a good milkshake, not runny at all. Add more salt and some pepper.

To finish, take a taste, add something unique like a pinch of aromatic Cardamon powder.

Using a simple Pyrex baking dish, lay out your fish fillets (anything white and somewhat firm, such as haddock, flounder, tilapia). Pour the sauce over the fish. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 oven for as long as it needs ... (I used 10 tilapia fillets, layered in the pan, and I baked the dish for approximately 45 minutes.)

Let the dish set for ten minutes after removing from the over. Then spoon it onto a platter full of hot Basmati rice. Garnish with fresh green cilantro. Serve to people you love and want in your home :)

A note about how I cook:
It is much more fun (but, admittedly, more risky) to put food together like a musician puts together improvisational jazz - with a bunch of instinct and a lot of chaos. If it sounds arrogant, I am sorry, it probably is. But listen, I don't recommend this approach to all and nor do I think the results are always great ... it's just that that's how I roll, and rather than B.S.ing you through a conventional "cooking for friends" blog, that ends up feeling like a Pottery Barn ad, I'll give you a peek at the framework that works for me on a Saturday when friends are coming over. I am no beginner in the kitchen; I've had a lot of training, but I think it's important for us all to learn how to sense our way through cooking dinner just the same way we put outfits together with flair...

More later. Go Red Sox!


  1. Hey girlfriend- Thanks for sharing. I've been dreaming of it since Saturday night. xxxB

  2. Very sweet for you to post ~ but how 'bout those beets? I know you really loved the beets ;)

  3. "that's how I roll"


    I cook the same way. I read cook books for fun but don't use them very often when actually cooking (except baking). It is more fun that way except when the wife or kids go "it tasted better last time".